The normalization of mass shootings in the U.S

The normalization of mass shootings in the U.S

Emma Lawrence, Reporter

Imagine you walk into school ready for the day. You sit down and start doing work. It’s nothing more than your regular Tuesday classes. You are startled by an announcement of a hard-lockdown. This isn’t a drill.

You are huddled in a corner with your peers, fearing the unknown. You take out your phone to text your parents “I love you,” one last time. You can hear gunshots from the classroom next to you, hearing the screams of innocent children. Luckily for you, the shooter never made it to your classroom. 

That’s the reality for a lot of school children in this country, and unfortunately sometimes the shooter made it to your classroom. The end result, since Columbine, has been 304 fatalities and 485 injuries.

School shootings, and mass shootings in general have become a normal occurrence across the U.S. Kids as young as kindergarteners are practicing lock-down drills multiple times a year. A lot of people are now scared to walk into school, a concert venue, a nightclub, and even a supermarket. 

Map of mass shooting locations in the United States in 2020.

The issue of mass shootings has struck the U.S for years. The government’s reluctance of enacting strict gun control laws is the main indirect cause of each mass shooting. Without laws such as these, it allows for teenagers who are still in high school, to acquire guns. Government officials blame it on mental health and even video games. The truth is, if the U.S had stronger gun control laws that had a more extensive background check, these deadly weapons would not be able to take countless lives each year.

Students all across the country have felt fears of school shootings. School is supposed to be a safe environment for learning, students shouldn’t have a fear of being killed at their school. 

iSchool sophomore Lucy McGee had this to say about the topic: “I don’t think that the government has taken any precautions to avoid mass shootings. Guns are still readily available to be used by young people. I’m always paranoid, you never know. It could happen at any time, as shown in other shootings. It’s also scary that people in government and some people in society still disregard the outstanding amounts of information that stricter gun laws will greatly lessen the amounts of shootings.”

Fellow iSchool sophomore, Leo Godsberg said,“I think that there should be universal background checks on all gun sales and I also think no automatic or semi-automatic weapons should be sold to citizens.”

These lack of strict gun control laws are causing deaths of children. Kids should not feel unsafe in a place of education.

According to Gun Violence Archive, as of March 14th, 2020, there have been 56 mass shootings . That’s 56 mass shootings (Shootings that have 4+ victims injured or killed excluding the shooter, in one location) in only three months. 

Earlier this year, on February 26, there was an attack in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This took place at the Molson Coors beer factory as an employee opened fire on their co-workers, taking the lives of 5 people and the shooter themself. 

According to The Washington Post,  “Current and former employees of the Molson Coors brewery here say there is a long-held culture of racism, including racist cartoons placed in workspaces, the n-word scrawled in break rooms and bathrooms and nooses hung at the facility — one on the locker of an employee who killed five co-workers there last week.”

The biggest fault of these shootings goes to the simplicity of acquiring a firearm in the U.S and the lack of mental health awareness. Compared to other countries around the world, the U.S has weak background checks when buying a firearm. According to New York Times, “Pass an instant background check that considers criminal convictions, domestic violence and immigration status.” Then you can buy a firearm.

Moreover, the different types of firearms available for purchase are even used in the military. Shootings such as the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had used an AR-15 to take the lives of seventeen people. Across many other shootings have had semi-automatic rifles and AK-47’s. 

Many people may have noticed correlations between race and mass shootings. Statistics show that more white people have been mass shooters than all other races combined. Data from the Gun Violence Archive shows that the number of mass shootings by race from 1982 to 2020 has been sixty four White, twenty Black, ten Latino, eight Asian, three Native American, six unknown, and five of other races. 

The fact that mass shootings have become so normalized in the U.S is sickening. There seems to be less shock when another shooting occurs. The feeling is more like, oh another shooting are we really surprised that this happened again.

It’s difficult living in a country with a constant fear of getting shot at home, at school, at a concert, or as something blatant like walking down your block. Mass shootings keep people in fear and it’s hard to walk outside and feel comfortable that you’re gonna be okay. Why is it so easy for guns to be purchased? How many people, children have to be killed for someone to step up and say, we need change now.